2 - DAY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON "NEUTRALITY IN THE XXI CENTURY - LESSONS FOR SERBIA"
With the support of the Swedish Armed Forces ISAC Fund is organizing an international conference on neutrality that will be held December 1 – 2 in Hotel Zira, Belgrade.
After the democratic changes in Serbia by the end of year 2000, one of the goals of the new Serbian Government was rapprochement with NATO (even a potential membership). However, on the eve of Kosovo’s declaration of independence in early 2008, the National Parliament of Serbia proclaimed Serbia’s military neutrality towards existing military alliances, trough one paragraph of the Resolution devoted to Kosovo issue. Although this self-proclaimed neutrality has not been precisely defined in any other document produced by state institutions until today, Serbia’s citizens, politicians and most of the mainstream media widely accepted this foreign policy option as a fact. Furthermore, the notion of Serbia’s neutrality is often used by nationalists in inner political struggle for fostering the anti-Western discourse. Two factors were probably crucial for this widespread acceptance – tradition of being founder and a member state of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War (as a part of Yugoslavia) and the NATO bombing of Serbia in early 1999. Still, there is no real knowledge both among the most of the experts and the wider public, about what does it mean to be European neutral state in XXI century.
In our humble opinion this situation, without a developed and understandable concept of neutrality or without increased participation in the collective security system in Europe, is not beneficial for the country. Without any doubt, it could cause certain problems for the future relations with other countries in the region, but it could also negatively influence the process of European integration. The right counter answer would be to provide accurate, fact based information on this topic trough at least one public conference that will be covered by the media.
Therefore, ISAC Fund intends to provide an independent forum for academics, journalists, analysts and policy makers from Serbia, Western Balkans region and the EU, to discuss the nature of the Concept of Neutrality in the XXI century, relation of the system of collective security and permanently neutral states and the prospects of Serbia’s self proclaimed neutrality in the new, interdependent world. ISAC Fund intends to provide a forum for discussion of the nature of the concept of neutrality in the XXI century, relation of the system of collective security and neutral states and the prospects of Serbia’s self proclaimed neutrality in the interdependent world. The goal of the conference is to inform the political, professional and general public of Serbia about what a neutral country in the XXI century in Europe represents and how current European neutral countries transformed their concepts of neutrality.